Black Ice Keeping Georgia Roads Treacherous

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Associated Press News Release

ATLANTA (AP) -- Authorities are urging Georgia drivers to be cautious on streets and highways, as melting snow and ice forms treacherous conditions in some spots.

The National Weather Service said early Friday that areas of black ice would continue Friday morning as temperatures had dropped below freezing as far south as LaGrange and Macon and points to the north.

Forecasters said they expected temperatures to rise above freezing later Friday morning and warm into the 50s across much of the state.

High temperatures in the mid-50s were expected in metro Atlanta on Friday.

In Augusta, an area hard-hit by this week's ice storm, the National Weather Service was projecting a high of 56 on Friday.

News Release: Georgia Department of Transportation

ATLANTA – Overnight driving in all but the most dire emergency is strongly discouraged by the Georgia Department of Transportation as conditions will be ideal for the formation of treacherous and difficult-to-see black ice. Periodic bands of snow, sleet and freezing rain are expected to fall throughout central and north Georgia throughout the night while temperatures are predicted to remain below freezing. Those conditions, combined with darkness, make for extremely dangerous driving conditions. Georgia DOT continues to urge the public to avoid all but emergency travel until at least mid-day Thursday. Snow accumulations in North Georgia continue to pose driving hazards there. In a wide area across the state between a line just north of Columbus, Macon, Warner Robins and Statesboro and extending northward to as far above Interstate Highway 20 as Athens, significant icing is occurring. A State of Emergency remains in effect for 91 counties in this region.

DOT Communications Director Karlene Barron cautions that while the Department is utilizing all of its assets and available personnel to treat roadways, black ice at night often is only detected too late. “It is almost impossible to spot at night and once most drivers encounter a patch, it is almost equally impossible to successfully negotiate it. Everyone will be better served if they can simply stay home this evening and not travel until well into the day Thursday when temperatures are expected to climb back above freezing.”

The Department has nearly 700 personnel and more than 360 trucks equipped with snow plows and/or salt-gravel mixture spreaders on duty; some 75 trucks working in the Metropolitan Atlanta area alone. The work is focusing on the Interstate Highway System and other heavily used federal and state roadways, with a goal of keeping them passable for first responders and emergency travel. All major routes currently are considered passable but conditions of any can change quickly. Every road in this entire area remains affected to some degree by the weather, especially those lesser travelled routes which may not have been treated; again, all travel should be avoided if possible. Those who must travel for emergency purposes are advised to proceed slowly and cautiously; allow extra space between themselves and any other vehicles they encounter, avoid sudden braking or accelerating and stay well behind vehicles treating roadways.

Real-time road conditions and general information is available by dialing 511 and on the internet via . Other storm information is available via the Latest Emergency Information link at the Georgia Emergency Management Agency website, .

Department media contacts for this event are as follows:

  • The Special Operations Center (SOC): Located at the Transportation Management Center (TMC) in southwest Atlanta. Media should call Karlene Barron or Natalie Dale at 404.635.2490 and 2491 for updates. (Note - This is the Department’s statewide command center and the clearinghouse for real-time conditions; it is your best source for current status of roadways.)

  • Cheshire Bridge Road (Metro Atlanta) Maintenance Facility: Staffed by Mark McKinnon at 404.326.6672.

  • District One (Northeast Georgia) Gainesville Headquarters: Staffed by Teri Pope and Rick Parham at 770.718.3924

  • District Two (East Central Georgia) Tennille Headquarters: Staffed by Cissy McNure at 478.232.3331

  • District Three (West Central Georgia) Thomaston Headquarters: Staffed by Kimberly Larson at 706.741.3439.

  • District Four (South and Southwest Georgia) Tifton Headquarters: Staffed by Nita Birmingham 229.326.5435.

  • District Five (Southeast and Coastal Georgia) Savannah Area Office: Staffed by Jill Nagel at 912.424.6643.

  • District Six (Northwest Georgia) Cartersville Headquarters: Staffed by Mohamed Arafa at 678.721.5284.

News Release: Georgia Department of Transportation

TIFTON, Ga. – Southwest Georgia DOT crews are ready for sleet and ice that may develop late tonight and into early Thursday morning.

The National Weather Service reports the winter storm impact is expected to be minimal locally. However, freezing temperatures are expected to move into some area counties later tonight and wet bridges could freeze by daybreak. Georgia DOT’s southwest district, which encompasses 32 counties, is prepared for ice that may develop on roadways and bridges.

Eleven plow trucks and 54 employees from southwest Georgia are in Atlanta to assist with managing the winter storm there, but the local area is still well covered. The district has a total of 331 maintenance employees. Two snow plows that were disabled have been repaired and are being relocated to the northern part of the district where ice is more likely to be a problem. That area includes Quitman, Randolph, Terrell, Lee, Crisp and Wilcox counties.
Spreaders that can distribute a mixture of salt and rock and 18 motor graders are also available. Maintenance employees will be on call and will respond to reports of ice as needed.

“We’ve got everything ready. We can handle anything that comes up,” District Maintenance Engineer Stacy Aultman said.

Motorists are asked to stay off roadways if hazardous conditions develop. Black ice, which is almost totally transparent, can easily catch drivers off guard. Slow down on bridges and overpasses and avoid applying brakes on ice as it may cause a vehicle to skid.

Motorists should not pass a DOT truck spreading the salt/stone mixture, as stones may get kicked up at their cars and could break windshields. Please follow at least 100 feet behind DOT vehicles and never pass a Georgia DOT, contractor or local government truck treating the road.

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